Every day, every moment, we have a choice.
Not to oversimplify things, but…shit happens.
I was in a horrible mood earlier. Everything was making me grouchy. The woman who screwed up my coffee. The guy that kept pestering me while I was trying to work. Traffic. Stupid wifi wasn’t working. Stuff I forgot to do. Ripped my sweater on a nail sticking out. Not being able to find my keys and then breaking my key chain—again. Really just unimportant first world problems.
The big issue here is not whether negative things and feelings will come in to our lives—they’re coming. Count on it. And much bigger, badder stuff that my silly grumpy complaints.
We can choose to ignore it and pretend everything is sunshine happyland all the time and never be real. We can choose to be overwhelmed by it. Or we can choose to acknowledge it as reality and breathe through it, learn from it and move on. Compassion for ourselves when we have negative feelings isn’t wallowing in those feelings any more than it is pretending that they don’t exist. Compassion for ourselves when negativity comes is looking at all of it and choosing mindfully how to respond.
“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”
~ Pema Chodron
P.S. When you aren’t sure you can be present with it: Tonglen.